Business owners on Vallejo's Tennessee Street will meet Wednesday to create a business watch group to open up communication among merchants about issues in the area.

The meeting stems from a project started by Leadership Vallejo students to revitalize the Tennessee Street corridor.

The original "Team Tennessee" has grown from the original seven members to include about 40 local business owners and residents.

The group conferred at a Town Hall meeting in April and created three subgroups to each tackle a separate issue affecting the area: crime, beautification and traffic and safety.

One of the founding members, Maria Guevara, said business owners have expressed a desire to facilitate communication among other merchants.

"Just last week a Tennessee Street restaurant was robbed at 10 a.m.," Guevara said "When going up and down the street, only one business knew about the incident because their employee was eating there at the time it happened."

Surveys of business owners indicated burglary, graffiti, panhandling, drug deals and gas siphoning as issues in the area, she said.

Participants in Wednesday's meeting will discuss starting the watch group, choosing watch captains and creating a phone tree.

"Each merchant should take part in this project since we cannot do this on our own," Guevara said.

Members are also focusing on beautifying the area in hopes of creating a safer neighborhood.

Guevara said Team Tennessee has a goal of putting up banners and white tree lights be-tween Monterey and Napa streets by July 3 and is accepting donations from anyone wanting to be involved.

The meeting is scheduled from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Rick Mariani's Studio at 733 Tennessee St.

For information or to donate to the group, visit or send e-mail to

• E-mail Andrea Wolf at or call 553-6835.